I then constructed the stud walls to seperate
off the two bedrooms and bathroom. Partitions were also built under
the eaves to give a 0.5m wide area which could later be used for laying
pipework and electrics.
By April we had finalised the floor plan for
upstairs in the big shop, we just needed to modify the metal roof
trusses and build the stud wall partitions upstairs. Modifying the
tie bars for the trusses was simple enough, they were individually
cut, unbolted, drilled and rebolted. This modification allowed room
for normal width doorways upstairs.
New and Old Doorways
Really the stud walls were the easy bit of
building the new layout. We also needed to open two dooways between
the big shop and the house, one on each floor plus a double door
opening between the big shop (new living room) and the little shop
(new kitchen/diner). This sounded more like proper building work
as we would have to cut holes in existing brick walls and install
lintels for each doorway.
The single doorways were reasonably easy as
the openings were self supporting whilst I was putting the lintels
in. However, the double doorway had to be supported whilst the lintels
were installed. A hole was drilled above where the opening was planned
and a length of steam pipe placed through it, this was supported
at each end by acro props. Another prop was placed under the end
of the roof truss. It was then a case of taking out the individual
bricks, of which there were enough to fill a skip. Chiselling the
bricks out also finished off my drill so we had to hire one to finish
We still had a problem with the new layout. We'd
spent hours working out were we could make the new doorway from the upstairs
of the big shop to the upstairs of the house. The limited options we had
for positioning this meant that some major stair modifications were needed.
After many scale drawings we decided to move the stairs approximately
three feet towards the existing kitchen and instal winders to turn the
angle to the upstairs landing. The route to next door from upstairs would
then be via a walkway back over the stairs.
You may have guessed that this job was going to
take some time (ten days as it happens).
The first step was to remove the understairs cupboard and old staircase.
I had ten steps from another staircase which I would use to form the basis
of the new stairs. I then worked out where
the new flight of stairs would start and propped the new flight against
the wall. Upstairs floorboards were removed and new floor joist headers
installed to take the weight of the first floor were we were cutting through
the floor. Approximately one square metre of floor was cut away to allow
room for the new winders.
Once the new flight of stairs were fixed I constructed
a set of winders to join the top of the new flight of stairs to the first
floor, a vertical gap of 800 mm. The winders were hung using steel straps
from the existing joists and a steel post was installed to support the
1st floor header around the stairwell.
Once the new stairs were in place I built the balustrade
using standard stair parts and some improvisation. The lower handrail
on the straight section of stairs runs into the underside of the first
floor. The balustrade resumes on the first floor to protect the landing.
Also part of this job was building the walkway over to the first floor
of the shop. This was built in inch thick marine play and supported by
some heavily bolted 3 x 2 timber. We tested it by two of us jumping up
and down on it at once. Very scientific.
Around the same time we decided that we'd had enough
of living in a building site so I fitted door frames and doors between
the house and the shops. The doors are reclaimed, hence the colouring
and features. The step at the end of the downstairs hallway was rebuilt
using some of our reclaimed hardwood flooring and we were finally able
to start cleaning the house up.
The final touches such as plaster and skirting boards will be tackled
when we are ready to finish off the big shop, but at least the stairway
is now functional.
The previous winter had made it obvious that the
roof and valley gutter to the little shop needed some serious work. The
wall under the valley gutter was damp through the entire winter and many
of the slates had slipped. We had intended to do the roofing work ourselves
but in the end we got a good labour rate from some local roofers. They
stripped, rebattened felted and slated in just a few days. I let them
do the roofing whilst I prepared the roof for the new Veluxes that were
to replace the old leaky rooflights.
At the same time we had the old cast iron valley
gutter relined with a thick rubber liner, hopefully this would be the
end of the damp problems we'd had in the little shop.
part 4 >>